August 2009


I’m indebted to Phil Bradley, both in his blog and the column he writes in cilip update for pointing out several search engine alternatives : Collecta “real time social search engine” and Whozat for finding people –  plus Neil who tweeted about Surchur – another social search engine. Thanks to both for causing me to get really sidetracked from what I was actually looking for!

However it was Hunch that most aroused my curiosity – a search engine that helps you make decisions – now that led me down some sidetracks that meandered along for miles!!

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A dip into the endless variety of the internet: 3 intriguing blog posts and a fascinating site :

  • http://www.worldometers.info/ – real time world statistics. Almost hypnotic to watch how some of these grow. Sad to see how many species have become extinct already this year
  • Actually this is really 4 blog posts in one – but I came across Sarah Lay’s one first. She talks about some interesting experiments in local authority website – in particular the extreme example of Lancashire who have replaced traditional navigation with a google style front page. She links to Carl Haggerty, Stuart Harrison and Michele Ide-Smith who have written equally thoughtful posts about the same subject
  • Older post from Christian Kreutz – but particuarly valid for my work. He blogs about the value of blogging in the developent field – and as we are running a series of open sessions for colleagues over the summer, where we introduce them to the opportunities offered by social media tools, this is a good link to add to our handouts
  • And finally, a blog post from Steve Radick on the evolution of the social media evangelist. There is so much in this piece that I recognise!

Good topic for my first ‘real’ blog post. I’ve just got home from an inspiring afternoon at Google HQ in London, watching the presentations at the end of Young Rewired State.  Photos are saved in flickr, where I hope I matched the right teams with projects!

To paraphrase one of the judges – amazing that a group of 15 year olds in London could make 25 year olds in Silicon Valley look like amateurs.

Another commented that it was great that the teams were focusing on trying to solve problems, not put forward business cases. If you come up with a good enough solution, the cash will follow.

I just kept pinching myself that groups of people, many of whom met for the first time on Saturday morning, by Sunday afternoon had come up with working versions of some ingenious ideas, and then presented them to an audience – with confidence, and in many cases humour.

Public Strategy has blogged the teams and their ideas in detail, and I’m sure that links to the actual apps will appear on the main website soon (I’m pretty sure thats how the first Rewired State event worked). My interest is in how social media tools have worked around this event – first to find the young people who took part (who says teens dont twitter?) but also during and now after.  It was twitter that meant many people who couldn’t be there could keep up with progress, and flickr that has made those tweets real. Via twitter I was made aware of the blog post above, and will be able to keep an eye over the next couple of days as others add their thoughts. I’ve also seen an interesting exchange as one tweeter made someone who wasn’t at the event aware of an interesting project – and that person is now interested in talking with the young developers.

Finally, small piece of anecdotal evidence for my own input – shortly after tweeting that I’d published my photos, they had been looked at 26 times – with a comment from one of the lads confirming I’d got his team and project right. Instant feedback!

I echo public strategy’s final point “There are lots of smart people desperate to do smart things.  The rest of us have a huge interest in finding ways of letting them.”

update 28/8: DCSF made a short video overview of the day – worth watching

Its a sunny afternoon, and what am I doing? Working on a laptop…… well, at least its wireless, so I’m not at a desk.

I’ve been talking about this for ages, so finally thought it was time to stop talking and actually start typing – so all the snippets of information, links to things I found interesting, reminders and links to things I want to highlight can finally all be found in one place.

Despite my day job, I’m really not used to actually doing the production of this sort of thing myself…… although I’ve long had a random selection of accounts in a whole variety of tools and channels, and have even fiddled with a basic website. However, now to launch into the blogosphere – I’m sure it will take ages to actually deliver all the ideas on my wishlist – but I’ve got lots of amazing people to inspire me – I’ll share just as soon as I work out how to add a blogroll to this thing……